We are three sisters united in our search for the divine - in food, libation, literature, art, and nature. This blog will capture the true, sometimes decadent, at times humorous, and every so often transcendent adventures of the Salvation Sisters.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Retro-Style: "The Total Woman" Creamy Rice Pudding (Gluten-Free)

by Linda

"It was an ironic engagement gift. Yes, we both read it. And would both suggest a retitle: The Total Fundamentalist Crapfest." — from a book review of "The Total Woman" by Beth

Honestly, this is the best rice pudding that we sisters have ever eaten in our entire lives.
   It is shocking for me to remember from this present vantage point in 2014, that Marabel Morgan, author of The Total Woman published in 1973 wrote the bestselling nonfiction book of 1974. In that year Marabel sold more than 10 million copies of her anti-feminist and bible thumping manifesto that claimed to reveal the secrets to saving a woman's marriage by learning how to submit to her husband and making his happiness the focus of her existence. Marabel's suggestion that a wife greet her husband at the door encircled only in plastic wrap while proffering a martini became an instant classic and created much derision and eye-rolling from all the women that I know. I always wondered what wife who has worked a long day and has kids waiting for dinner could pull this off, and just why should I bring up this dated and dreary chapter in our history anyway, you might ask? Moreover—what does any of this have to do with rice pudding?

Our maternal grandmother, Maxine, as a glamorous young woman circa 1932.
   Because of the success of her first book, Marabel became a regular guest on The Phil Donahue Show, was featured on the cover of Time Magazine, and was named one of the most influential women in America by People magazine and the 1975 World Almanac. Once she became famous, Marabel went on to write subsequent books—one of which was a cookbook that she published in 1981. For some reason, our grandmother Maxine purchased the hardback copy for herself (I think she saw Marabel on a talk show) and then later gave the paperback copy to me. (It is now out of print, and somehow Michelle—aka The Repository—has ended up with both copies.)

Present day—my niece, Maddie, peruses the pages of my old cookbook.
   I was on the hunt for good recipes in those days because I was catering, cooking at at a bed and breakfast inn, and still later working as a pastry chef in a local hotel. I remember laughing derisively when Nana presented the book to me. In spite of my skepticism that there could be any recipes of value in the book, I went ahead and made a couple of things that I thought looked good. To my amazement, everything I tried was better than good—her recipes were great. Color me surprised! To be sure, there are some real dogs in that book that I never even tried, but more than 30 years later, Marabel's rice pudding recipe and another for carrot cake are still my favorites of all time. I remember some years back the Cook's Illustrated claimed to have perfected carrot cake, so I tried their recipe. I am sorry to inform the recipe creators at that magazine, but Marabel's carrot cake kicks their proverbial cake ass. Their "improved" cake can't hold a candle to The Total Woman Lawn FĂȘte Carrot Cake.

Our Nana Maxine in later years with my son, Jordan, at Laguna Beach at 
about the time she gave me the cookbook.
    This is how Marabel's Creamy Rice Pudding went on to grace the buffet table at every single weekend brunch that I served at The Ballard Inn due to popular demand, and then it was frequently seen on the dessert tray at Remington's restaurant in the Los Olivos Grand Hotel when I was the pastry chef there in the early 90s. Guests at both establishments frequently commented that it was the best rice pudding that they had ever tasted and begged for the recipe—much like my beloved apple pie and chocolate chip cookies. Creamy Rice Pudding was always a favorite at our family gatherings, too. I remember making it for a Christmas morning brunch when our grandparents were still alive (it was one of our last big gatherings before death and divorce took their toll). Michelle's boyfriend at the time, Bob (the same one who loved Michelle's pasta salad) became an instant fan that Christmas Day long ago.

Maddie poses with my old copy of The Total Woman Cookbook—please
tell me times have changed—the creamy rice pudding has not though. It is still the best ever.
   In all honesty, I haven't made this recipe in years because it is high in refined carbs and does have white sugar—things I am avoiding these days. But when I made it this week to feature in our retro-series on our blog, I did wonder if I would think it was as delicious as I remembered it to be. I am here to tell you that it is! When I served the rose and mint garnished dish of heaven to Mark who had never tried it before (no, I most certainly was not draped in Saran in case you might be wondering), he confirmed that without a doubt, it is the best rice pudding he has ever had. Adding citrus peels, coriander and gelatin to the custard—letting it cool and then folding in the whipped cream at the last gives this classic dessert a makeover that just might turn this into one of your favorites of all time, too.

P.S. We invite you to "like" us and to join the conversation on our Salvation Sisters Facebook Page where we post what we find and like from around the wide, wide, world of the internet. As always, we'd love to hear from you, whether you post in comments here on the blog or on Facebook. Ciao!

Creamy Rice Pudding

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Retro-Style: Michelle's Big Bowl Pasta Salad and A Bad Romance

by Michelle
"You and me could write a bad romance." ~Lady GaGa 
Bob and I during our happier times while on vacation in Cumberland, Maryland circa 1987.

   I am publishing this recipe by special request for my ex-boyfriend, Bob. Who, after we broke up, I thought I would never, ever, ever in a million years speak to again. Ever. Yet, here we are today, many years down the road, connected again through Facebook. I suppose the old adage is true that time heals all wounds. Well, perhaps most, but maybe not all. As for Bob and I, we buried the hatchet many years ago, and happily, not in each other's backs.

In the late 80s, Bob and I, and sometimes our family, and friends, including
our co-ed softball team would camp on the shores of Bartlett Lake in Arizona.
Bob's truck, speed boat and a smattering of friends.
I unfortunately tried to water ski behind that boat, but only once. I lived to tell the tale.
Yours truly in camping mode. I loved that hat, an Indiana Jones-style fedora.
My daughter needed photographic proof to believe my camping stories.
   It was difficult when we broke up, as such things always are, but the difficulty was compounded because my parents, who were still together at the time, absolutely adored my ex and they hoped we'd stay together. Bob has a good sense of humor and was easy to be around, for the most part, if you weren't dating him and didn't mention the word commitment. Otherwise, it was good times. I have happy memories of traveling to Maryland to visit his mom and then sightseeing in our nation's capital. At home, we regularly camped at Barlett Lake near Phoenix (yes, I did camp in my younger years), and we'd fly across smooth water in his speed boat—which he constantly tinkered with in his garage. The boat spent more time in pieces in his garage than on the lake—but, hey—it looked pretty cool.

A rail yard located near Bob's home town of Cumberland, Maryland.

   Imagine this… we even played co-ed softball for a team sponsored by Harvey Wineburger, and we'd go with our team after every game to drink beer and devour hamburgers. We would play pool at our sponsor's dive bar/restaurant, and I mean "dive" in a good way. No frills and lots of fun and it didn't matter much if you spilled some beer on the floor. It was kind of like Cheers, but with hamburgers—everyone knew our names.
   Bob and I visited my sister Linda and her boys in Solvang, California one year for Christmas when she lived in the cute little cottage with a big grassy yard and weathered picket fence. Flowers bordered the entrance leading to the front gate and a fragrant honeysuckle vine grew over the front porch. Linda was married to her high school sweetheart at the time—sadly that relationship didn't last either. Neither did that of my parents. When my parents separated after more than 35 years of marriage, my Dad moved in with Bob for awhile—how is that for weird? Especially since I was newly married at the time.

Christmas 1986 in Solvang with a beautiful breakfast made by Linda and served in her living room.
From left: Papa, my dad, uncle Pat, my Mom, Linda, Nana, Michelle (me) and Bob.
A visit to Surf Beach during Christmas 1986.
From left: Bob, me, dad, mom, Joshua (standing), Jordan, Linda, Juliette and Paul in stroller.
   As of late, I've been delving into a trove of photos both new and old. Some are very old; of my great-great-great grandparents even. I know people who throw their memories away. I can't bring myself to do that, no matter how mad I've been at the time. I kept all the photos that I have of Bob and me to remember the good times. Of when I was young, trying to find my way in the world, determining what I wanted from a partner and from life. It's interesting to look back over twenty-five years and to reflect on how my life has unfolded and to contemplate the results of the choices I've made along the way. I'm glad I kept the photos that trigger the memories of our time together, and that I can look back upon them and him with fondness from this distant vista in time, because there was a time when I would have loved to have thrown an entire bowl of pasta salad in the direction of Bob's head. Now—twenty-something years later—I'm happy to to share the recipe with him, without even a shade of acrimony.

The Thomas Jefferson Memorial in Washington D.C. is modeled after the Pantheon in Rome.
Bob captured this photo of me near the entrance of the Smithsonian.
A bird's eye view of the Lincoln Memorial.
What was I thinking with this clothing ensemble? Linda commented it is the worst outfit ever!
   Old recipes are like old friends, too. My repertoire of recipes, like friends on my Christmas list, can vary over the years. Both recipes and friends can be all the rage one year and off the list the next. I look at the faded recipe printed in a "family heritage" cookbook that I put together to give for Christmas presents in 1991 and think, wow, nobody eats pasta salad anymore. A growing number of people don't eat wheat, or gluten, or carbs in general.
   This pasta salad made it through the low-fat fad years by switching to non-fat or low-fat versions of both dressings. I'm back to eating fat, and limiting carbs, but gluten is mostly out. Fortunately, there is gluten-free pasta widely available to make an easy conversion. The one thing that hasn't changed over the years is the impression the pasta salad left on Bob. Good food can do that—leave a lasting imprint upon the brain, which honestly can be quite vexing, and leads me to think of the Rolling Stone's lyrics, "You can't always get what you want, but if you try sometimes well you might find, you get what you need."

The Baltimore Harbor on a foggy November day in Maryland.
 At the time, I was pretty proud of myself when I spliced two photos together to create a panorama.
Back in the day, when I had more time, I cut and pasted—literally—myself into this photo.
   When I received the Facebook message from Bob letting me know that he had looked at Salvation Sisters, and subsequently was disappointed that his favorite pasta salad was not among the many recipes we've posted to date, I was immediately drawn back in time—to former kitchens and homes, and of cooking pasta salad for family and friends that no longer gather. And, while pasta salad really is not in vogue, I bet it will come around again, like high-waisted jeans. Wait... my daughter just bought a pair of high-waisted jeans. Maybe it's time for pasta salad to become fashionable again, too—just in time for potluck season.

What's for dinner? Pasta salad and herb-rubbed grilled chicken.
Retro-Style: Michelle's Big Bowl Pasta Salad

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Chihuly In the Garden and Chicken Cacciatore

My Traveling Tales by Michelle

"I never met a color I didn't like." ~Dale Chihuly

The glass sculpture is titled Blue Fiori Sun.
My beautiful niece, Sonora enjoys a leisurely afternoon
in the garden with her mom, Juliette and me.

   "Artist Dale Chihuly returns to the Desert Botanical Garden with a stunning exhibition of 
his extraordinary and vibrant works of art. Chihuly is credited with revolutionizing the 
Studio Glass movement and elevating the perception of the glass medium from craft to 
fine art. He is renowned for his ambitions architectural installations around the world, in 
historic cities, museums and gardens. Chihuly's work is included in more than 200 museum 
collections worldwide." 
                                                                     ~Phoenix Desert Botanical Gardens website

The chipmunk is eating the fruit on the barrel cactus.
The little guy uses the needles to climb the cactus, as if scaling a ladder.

   Last November when the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix announced a special exhibition featuring glass sculptures by the artist Dale Chihuly, Juliette and I immediately made a pact to visit the garden together. We sisters—Linda, Juliette and me—have been fans of his work since Sistercation Las Vegas when we cast our eyes upon the lovely profusion of colorful flowers, which includes over 2,000 pieces of glass, that grace the ceiling of Bellagio's lobby. As time passed painfully through the holidays, and quickened its step through the winter and spring, Juliette and I realized that we were running out of days to keep our promise—the exhibit is due to close this Sunday, May 18th. We finally made it the day after Mother's Day. If you live in the greater Phoenix area, I highly recommend that you see the exhibit this weekend. I, for one, would really enjoy returning tonight to see the sculptures illuminated against a darkening sky.

Red Reeds and cacti.

   I'm a person who is curious to learn how things are made whether it's refining a mineral into copper sheets or transforming cocoa beans into chocolate bars. Usually the process is far different and more complicated than I initially imagined. Fortunately for me, in addition to the exhibit, the museum featured a video on a 30 minute loop, that showed the artist at work. Boy was it an eye opener. I'm one of those naive people that imagines a prolific artist working solo in a studio space. Such is not the case with Mr. Chihuly. In fact, while watching the video, I recalled a slogan I saw emblazoned on a T-shirt being worn by a rather large, quasai-intimidating man wandering around a show where my company recently exhibited:

A lot of people 
doing what I say

   After experiencing two accidents, a car crash that left Chihuly blinded in his left eye (which he covers with a pirate-style patch) and a body-surfing injury that was serious enough to prevent him from holding a glass blowing pipe again, the artist moved to a team approach, which he first observed while working at the Venini glass factory in Venice. In his wikipedia biography, Chihuly is credited with describing his leadership role as, "...more choreographer than dancer, more supervisor than participant, more director than actor." The Bellagio installation, which weighs 40,000 pounds, required the skills of a diverse team of over 100 people, including glassblowers, architects, engineers, shippers, installers, fabricators—and one Dale Chihuly to lead them all.

   After seeing various water installations on the educational video, I told Juliette, in a lamentful tone, that I wish we could see a Chihuly sculpture floating in the water. I surely had very little hope of this since I was standing in barren Phoenix, even if I was walking through a Botanical Garden. Soon though, I was to have one of those revelatory moments: Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. As you may have read here previously on the blog, I like to say to myself as a positive, lighthearted affirmation, "Everything works out for me." Proof of this was that just a little further down the path, around a bend on the dusty trail, there was lo and behold—a pond. On its surface floated a boat filled with glass gourds, flowers and reeds—the shapes reflecting in the rippling water. There were even bullfrogs soaking in the muddy bank and dragonflys perched on cattails. Who could ask for anything more? It was indeed a magical tableau.

Sonoran Boat and Blue Crystals.
Juliette's nickname in high school was Bullfrog.

   This day's excursion was a beneficial reminder to take some time for myself. I am a true believer that experiencing creativity, feeds creativity. I've been keeping myself indoors way too much. There have been years where I steadfastly kept a rule to have fun one day a week, and I admit—I have not been good at adhering to it over the past year. When my daughter was a toddler, and I was working full-time—there were times that I felt completely overwhelmed. It was then that I decided to take a college level art class in order to learn how to draw. Making that decision and following through with it was the best thing I did for myself in those years as a new mom.
   As a result, I learned a new skill that completely absorbed me for the hours I was in the studio, and I also enjoyed the time spent drawing at home while completing projects for the class. When the next semester rolled around, I signed up for Drawing 102 and continued on. Although I was participating in an activity that took time and attention, and added to my already very full schedule, I found the time mentally relaxing and stimulating at the same time. The  blossoming artistry that I experienced during the class by sharing a common experience with my fellow classmates, helped to feed creativity in all aspects of my life—including finding more innovative solutions to challenges at work.

Juliette and her youngest daughter, Sonora.
   As I move through my life I often think of myself in terms of a person that is a "Jack of All Trades, Master of None." And, I don't mean that in a derogatory way. I'm good at a lot of different things, but I don't feel masterful at any one subject, even with cooking. I tend to wonder what a artist like Dale Chihuly thinks of himself? Does he consider himself a master of glass? Or, does he think of himself as ever evolving and continuing to learn his chosen craft while he climbs the seemingly never-ending uphill journey of life? I tend to think it is the latter.

   What I particularly found appealing about the Chihuly exhibit was its diversity in designs, from the long reeds to the writhing gourds to the giant glass spheres. Many of the pieces involved hanging or installing the glass on frames to make interesting one-of-a-kind art for the delight of the viewing audience. If you want to read a piece with a lot of metaphors and a few snickers involved (because I'm once again 10 years old) give this blog post a read. The glass blowing process is really quite fascinating and is ever evolving as artists press the limits of what's achievable.

   I could see that Juliette was quite enthusiastic after her day spent basking in the outdoors and enjoying art, which in turn, made me very happy. We all felt replenished by spending a day away from our cares, to join together in a new experience—to laugh, to talk, to share our thoughts about art—and what it takes to enjoy it, and what it takes to create it. In the book, The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron, the author writes of the artist's need to refill his or her internal creative well. The artist accomplishes this task of replenishment by giving attention and specific time to "nurturing your creative consciousness." For me, when I see art that I admire, it nurtures in me the desire to create. So it is for Juliette—and, so I suspect it is the same for all artists. We want to be inspired so that we too feel compelled to create. Chihuly In The Garden was just what we both needed to light the creative flame anew.

Chicken Cacciatore

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Retro-Style: Hawaiian Skillet Vegetables—Waiting Tables and Cooking Professionally

Story by Linda—Photos by Michelle

"Twenty-eight years have come and gone and she's seen a lot of tears…
It's a sacrifice working day to day for little money, just tips for pay...
She works hard for the money, so hard for it, Honey, she works 
hard for the money so you better treat her right—" 
Donna Summer, She Works Hard For The Money

Folk Art Design for the cookbook by Jo Sonja.
   Michelle recently came up with an idea for our blog that I am excited about. she proposed that we do a series of post about recipes that we made in our distant past and the stories that go with them. These dishes have survived in our present recipe repertoires—things we still make today because they are just that good. Throughout the years, we have revised and updated the recipes to include more fresh ingredients and more contemporary presents. Some of these recipes from the seventies and eighties even called for canned fruit or mushrooms, for example. Definitely retro—and not in a good way. This firs in the Retro-Style series is a recipe that I originally found on one of the recipe card from a Camellia Luncheon that our grandmother, Maxine, attended back in the eighties, and has a story behind it.
   In the early eighties, I was a very young mother with identical twin boys. My sons were born in Stillwater, Oklahoma because my then husband, Danny, had been offered a baseball scholarship to Oklahoma State University. Jordan and Joshua arrived in early December of 1978—just before the start of Danny's senior year in baseball. At the end of that season, without the hoped for offer from a major league team being extended, we decided to move back to California. Eventually, with the help of my mom finding a cottage that was built in the forties for us to rent, we settled in the Danish-themed town of Solvang, with my parents and Michelle (who was still at home) living just a couple of miles away. Later, Juliette would move into the house next door to us. Those were most definitely the good old days.

Joshua in the background, and Jordan and I in the foreground, at Surf beach in Lompoc circa 1980.
   When the boys turned two, and financial pressures became significant enough, I knew I needed to find a job. I had been working as a florist/designer before the boys came along. However with the cost of the boys' day care eating up more than half of the salary of a florist, I turned to waiting tables, like many legions of women before me. I will be eternally grateful that the state of California requires that food servers be paid minimum wage in addition to tips. This allowed my minimum wage to pay for the cost of child care, and my tips went to all the other expenses involved in keeping a young family afloat.

Jordan, Linda and Joshua on Figueroa Mountain in the Santa Ynez Valley circa 1982.
The photo was taken by my college friend Ron Levy.
   Although I was a more than competent cook and baker in those days—having been interested in cooking at a very young age—I had never cooked professionally. My sister, Juliette, got me my first job as a waitress at a Belgian waffle house in downtown Solvang that served breakfast and lunch. To his credit, the owner made the yeasted waffle batter from scratch, and cooked the waffles on round irons imported from Europe. As I learned the ropes of waiting tables, I always kept an eye on the kitchen, and knew that eventually, I wanted to be behind the scenes cooking—not waiting tables. However the difference in earnings simply would not permit that change until my children were in school for a full day.
   The day that Jordan and Joshua went to first grade, I knew that things were going to change in my life, and they did very rapidly. I switched from the "front of the house" to "the back of the house" as it is referred to in the restaurant business. My next string of jobs included cooking and baking for a high end bed and breakfast where I made breakfast in the morning and returned to prepare what the B&B called a "high tea" for all the guests in the afternoon. After that, I was hired on at the second opening of a fancy hotel restaurant as the pasty chef/baker where daily I made from scratch every single loaf of bread, dinner roll, muffin and dessert in the house. I had full creative control there, and I really enjoyed that. And lastly, I managed a bakery/cafe where I did all the baking as well as see over the day-to-day operations. This foray into cooking professionally lasted 10 years.

The boys and I posed for this cover of a local magazine in 1981.
   To prepare me in the years before I left waiting tables for the kitchen, I had taken side jobs helping at catered events where I did everything from prepare food, to serving the guests. I worked weddings, rock and roll concerts, fundraisers, dinner parties, wine country picnics and grilling up Santa Maria-style BBQ under the ancient oaks to large groups of tourists in the Santa Ynez Valley. Once the boys were in school full-time, I branched out and started doing the catering for the cafe in Solvang where I was waiting tables at that time called The Mustard Seed (Juliette and I had both moved on from the waffle house in the beer garden at which we originally worked). The Mustard Seed is still in business today, with different owners than when Juliette and I both worked there.
   Once I was in charge of planning menus for my own gigs, I started scouting for recipes. It is difficult to remember life before the Internet. At that time, one needed cookbooks—a thousand recipes were not available at the click of a mouse—and Julia Child had one of the few cooking shows around. There was no Cooking Channel, nor were there a myriad of food magazines. I owned copies of the Joy of Cooking, and Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbookthat was about it, so our Nana's gifts to me of the Assistance League cookbooks provided a variety of tried and true favorites from the women of Redlands with which I experimented. Many of the recipes were submitted from friends of my grandmother's with whom I was acquainted.

Our grandparents grew camellias in Redlands when I was growing up—which I have always loved. This photo is of me in Redlands at my grandparents house, and it was taken during the period of my life when I catered and began cooking professionally. Today, I grow camellias in Petaluma.

   It was in this way that Hawaiian Skillet Vegetables became one of my catering standards for several reasons. First of all it is colorful and delicious. Second, I could prep all the vegetables in advance so it all went together very quickly when it was time to cook. Last, it held up well in a large chafing pan for a long period of time without becoming over cooked or dry. I served this dish to Jay and Michelle during a visit to Solvang almost 15 years ago. They were in town for a visit and I made the veggie dish to go along with Thai Spicy BBQ Chicken and coconut rice. I ended that meal with our family's homemade lemon ice creamthe one much admired by Kirk Douglas (yes, that Kirk Douglas). Michelle loved the dish and asked for the recipe, or else it might have been forgotten—buried in my recipe box and lost to time. There is a reason that we sisters refer to Michelle as The Repository—she hangs on to things. Michelle, who does a lot of entertaining and cooking for large family get- togethers, still makes this veggie side dish—as she did just this past weekend when the Arizona clan gathered for dinner at her house.

The four sisters and our mom in front of our parent's house in Solvang in 1979. Our dad was mixing concrete for a patio, thus explaining the large cement mixer in back of us. From left to right:
Juliette, Maria, Mom with Joshua, Michelle, and Jordan and me.

   As for me, I moved on to an entirely different life eventually. I left cooking professionally far behind. And while there are times I really long to be back in a stainless steel kitchen, boiling up a big pot of stock while I have bread baking in the oven, or I am assembling pies and the hustle and bustle of a restaurant thrumming at full throttle is happening all around me—the reality is that I do not wish for that often. The work was hot and physically exhausting, and the hours were bad, we worked every holiday, and the pay was meager. To offset the down side there was a high degree of satisfaction to be had from making delicious and nourishing meals for people and the joy of being creative when time permitted. What I especially miss is the camaraderie of my kitchen co-workers. However, doing something that you love for pay tends to take the joy out of it in my experience. Now, I much prefer cooking at home. It relaxes me and brings joy to my day—even when I am tired from a long day at work.
   These days I still work hard for the money, and I make much more of it thankfully. Upon reflection though, I will always be grateful for those days spent in the trenches of professional kitchens serving tables and cooking. Those years made me to a large degree what I am today (that and raising spirited twin boys). As a result of my years spent waiting tables and cooking, I have so much respect and admiration for the people who prepare and serve our food. They all work hard for the money with very little in the way of perks. They don't ask for much... just remember to tip well, to say please and thank you, and send your compliments to the chef.

Hawaiian Skillet Vegetables
by Michelle

   This is yet another terrific recipe gleaned from the cookbook published in 1988 by The Assistance League of Redlands, California. This is the same organization that organized The Camellia Luncheon, a community tradition, which began on February 5, 1952. The fund raising event is held annually. Proceeds from the luncheon are used throughout the year toward philanthropic projects conceived and managed by the members.
   Following is an excerpt from the 1988 cookbook regarding the Camellia Luncheon: "Each year, approximately 12 lovely homes throughout the city are selected as location sites for the luncheon. Tickets are sold in advance, and identical, pre-tested menus are served in each home. Local Assistance League members are responsible for purchasing, preparing and serving the food. Camellias adorn all of the tables, camellia corsages are presented to each guest, and camellia plants are donated by a local merchant for door prizes in every home."
   The Hawaiian Skillet Vegetables recipe was submitted by Wally Ann Lynard, who wrote, "Mom's own "My Best Recipe," published in the Los Angeles Times." The ingredients call for one 13.5-ounce can pineapple chunks, with the juice drained and reserved for the sauce. We've updated the recipe by using a fresh pineapple and bottled unsweetened pineapple juice. Also, in lieu of adding dried basil to the vegetables, we substitute fresh basil to garnish the dish right before serving. Serves 10 to 12.

You may ask yourself, is it worth the time and effort to make this curry powder from scratch? 
Why yes... yes it is.
1 ripe pineapple, peeled, cored and cut into bite-size chunks
8 Tbsps unsalted butter, divided
22 medium mushrooms (about 1-1/4 pound), quartered
1 coarsely chopped red bell pepper
1 coarsely chopped green bell pepper
1 large yellow onion, diced
6 to 8 carrots, peeled and sliced diagonally
16 fluid ounces (2 cups) unsweetened pineapple juice
1/2 tsp ground ginger (do not use fresh ginger)
1 tsp homemade curry powder (preferred), or to taste
1/4 cup brown sugar (unrefined coconut sugar is a worthy substitute)
1 8-oz can sliced water chestnuts, drained
1/4 cup chiffonade of fresh basil

Special Equipment:
12-inch skillet

1. Melt 4 tablespoons butter in skillet over medium-high heat, add mushrooms and let sit for about 2 minutes until brown on one side. Then, stir and cover with a lid so the liquid will release. Let cook for another 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Lower heat to medium and add bell peppers. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt and add a few grinds of freshly ground black pepper. Saute 3 minutes. Remove mushrooms and green peppers to a bowl and set aside.

2. Reduce heat to medium. Add remaining 4 tablespoons butter to skillet and onions (sprinkle with a little sea salt and add a few grinds of freshly ground black pepper) and saute until golden. Add pineapple juice, carrots, ginger, curry powder, brown sugar and a pinch more sea salt to onions in skillet and simmer for approximately 20-25 minutes, or until carrots are tender. Adjust the heat as necessary to maintain a happy simmer. (The sauce will thicken as it simmers into a nice glaze.) 

3. Add cooked mushrooms, green bell peppers, and drained water chestnuts. Cook 5 minutes longer.

4. Toss in pineapple chunks and when ready to serve, toss in the chiffonade of basil.  Makes 10-12 servings.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...